Reduce your single use plastic waste

Plastic waste and resource scarcity are becoming key issues of our time.  We can all take small steps to reduce the amount of single-use plastic we use in our day to day lives.  Here are ten simple steps to help ensure we can all enjoy a greener Havering.

Reusable drink bottles

Water refillSingle use plastic bottles and coffee cups - Reusable drink bottles and cups can save you money and help save the planet too.

There are many outlets which can provide free drinking water,  simply download the free Refill app to find water on the go and discover your local Refill stations.

Try visiting Costa Coffee, Starbucks, Sapphire Sports and Ice Centre, Harrow Lodge Sports Centre, Lush and all alcohol licensed premises for a free top up and keep an eye out for other shops displaying the Refill sign. 

Shopping bags

Invest in cloth shopping bags. Cloth bags can be used again and again and can be washed between shopping trips. Try buying plain ones and jazz them up with your own design or statement using fabric paints/pens.

Cleaning products

Choose a multi-purpose cleaner instead of buying lots of different cleaning products. It may save you money, storage space and the use of additional plastic bottles.

Coffee and tea

165 million teabags are thrown away every day in the UK and most standard tea bags contain plastic.

Why not try loose tea as a healthy non plastic alternative? Most coffee pods can be recycled through schemes but why not avoid the hassle by buying loose ground or whole bean coffee which is the greenest way to go.

Food packaging

Buy loose fruit and veg and avoid individually wrapped items. Take your own containers with you and buy from the deli counter. Purchase drinks and milk in glass bottles.

Food wrap

Most food wraps are non-recyclable and made from PVC. Consider a beeswax alternative which you can use for up to one year. Simply clean in warm soapy water and use it again and again.

Chewing gum

It’s often made from polyethylene and polyvinyl acetate – plastic! Ditch the chewing of plastic and go for a healthy alternative. 

Pet food

Swap the non-recyclable plastic and foil-coated food pouches for tin cans which can be rinsed and placed in your orange recycle sack for collection.   

Nappies and baby wipes

Make a green start with your new arrival. Consider applying for a free washable cloth nappy pack and try washable wipes which can last a child’s lifetime and save you money.

Party time

Simply swap those single use plastic items for something more permanent or compostable.

Consider using the cutlery and plates you already have or buy hard-wearing plates and cups made from bamboo, corn or sugar cane.

Change from plastic straws to paper or metal ones and share your bunting and other occasional decorations with family and friends.

Make up squash jugs instead of individual juice bottles and bake your own sweet treats to avoid excess plastic packaging. 

Cosmetics and beauty products

Try swapping: liquid hand wash for a bar of soap, plastic razors for a metal reusable one and choose ear buds which have a paper middle bar.   

Period products

With a potential of using 12,000+ sanitary products (containing plastic materials) during a lifetime why not try the alternatives? Check out Mooncups and washable period and panty liner pads


Swap your plastic bottled liquid hand wash for a bar of soap. You will be surprised how long it lasts and it usually works out cheaper than liquid. 

Washing machine laundry pods

Go old school and change your pods to powder.

Washing machine liquid pods are sold in single use plastic containers and although they dissolve they are typically made of PVA (polyvinylalcohol).

Traditional powder comes in a cardboard box and is plastic free. Try it, it works just as well.   

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